May is Better Hearing and Speech Month! This month we’re talking about communication disorders such as hearing loss, language disorders, stuttering, or speech disorders. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, who organize Better Hearing and Speech Month every year, chose the 2020 theme of Communication at Work. To help you learn more about hearing loss, and make sure you can communicate at work and at home, here are 7 ways hearing loss is connected to your overall health and well being.
1. Hearing Loss and Social Isolation
Hearing loss is closely linked to social isolation. When you have hearing loss, you find it difficult to follow conversations. You ask people to repeat themselves over and over again, but you struggle to understand what they’ve said. You may feel embarrassed that you can’t hear, or worry that you may answer a question or comment incorrectly. If you have untreated hearing loss, you may choose to stay home from social events, avoid answering the phone, and put off having conversations with loved ones. This can lead to social isolation, anxiety, or even depression.
2. Hearing Loss and Dementia
Another surprising link is between hearing loss and dementia. If you have untreated hearing loss, you’ll have a greater risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, and you may experience rapid cognitive decline. Not only does hearing loss put a strain on your brain, you’re also less likely to do activities that keep your brain active, such as chatting with friends or going for a walk outside.
3. Hearing loss and Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have hearing loss! High blood sugar levels are known to damage blood cells throughout the body, and this damage can extend to the cells in your ears. You may also experience more nerve damage, and have hearing loss due to nerve damage in the brain.
4. Hearing Loss and Your Heart
Heart disease is also linked to hearing loss. Cardiovascular disease can restrict blood flow through the body, and places farther away from the heart suffer the most damage. Your ears receive less blood, and some cells in the ear die from lack of oxygen. This cell loss causes hearing loss.
5. Hearing Loss and Medications
Some medications can cause hearing loss. Taking high doses of aspirin, ibuprofen, or certain antibiotics can increase your risk of hearing loss. When starting a new medication or managing pain with over-the-counter medications, pay attention to your hearing health, and talk to your doctor if you notice any hearing loss.
6. Hearing Loss and Accidents
If you’re living with untreated hearing loss, you have a far higher risk of an accident or fall. You may struggle with balance issues and be less surefooted. Hearing is also important for sound localization, and knowing where a sound is coming from helps you stay safe as you move through your environment. When you can’t hear clearly, you’re more likely to be caught off guard by sounds, or fail to hear a warning shout or horn. In the home, you may miss the stove alarm or smoke alarm, and risk your safety.
7. Hearing Loss and Hospitalization
People with hearing loss are hospitalized more often than their hearing peers. Those with hearing loss have more accidents, but that’s not the whole story. Hospitalizations are also more common because of miscommunications. If you visit your doctor for a checkup, but can’t hear or communicate clearly, you may not understand instructions, or may not clearly communicate your symptoms. This can lead to misdiagnosis, ineffective home treatment, and higher rates of hospitalizations.
Welsch Hearing Aid Company
It’s important to monitor your overall health and wellbeing by watching for any signs of hearing loss. Hearing loss makes it more challenging to communicate at work, and living with untreated hearing loss will reduce your quality of life and affect your mental and physical health.
Are you ready to look after your hearing health? Visit us at Welsch Hearing Aid Company for a comprehensive hearing test as part of Better Hearing and Speech month! We’ll find out what sounds you’re having a hard time hearing, and we’ll suggest the best hearing aids that will let you hear clearly and communicate better at work.